Bram Levinson

I’ve officially been in Spain for a full week now, and regardless of having been away on vacation before, regardless of having planned and prepared for this trip for the past 6 months, the experience of really being AWAY is proving to be another of life’s true lessons for me.

Stephane and I started our trip in Barcelona, a city teeming with art, beauty, and a million-and-one things to do…and in 5 days, I think we did about 800,000 of them, as our friends Marc & Vanessa could attest to. They were in Barcelona when we arrived, and we spent a couple of days with them, guided by Stephane and his Lonely Planet-inspired walking tours. After they left Spain, we continued exploring every major neighborhood until I was exhausted, opting on our last full day there for an afternoon siesta while Stephane’s superhuman endurance continued to guide him through the city.

We flew to Granada the following day for two more days of exploring and sight-seeing, not to mention eating…from there we sped to Cordoba by train where we now find ourselves lounging by the pool in 35 degree weather…lounging after a full week of walking and acclimatizing to our new Spanish schedule.

With just under 2 more weeks to go, I can look back at the past week and clearly see how easy it is to lose oneself amidst the distractions of a new environment…how easy it can be to push oneself past one’s limits of endurance, to completely forget to nourish oneself in the rush to see and do everything…and then to find your Self standing to the side, observing everything patiently, but knowingly…until you find both feet once again firmly planted on the ground, and an insanely strong desire to quench the thirst that has been quietly building up. A thirst to be present, to find real union, to come back to your Self, regardless of where you find your physical self and whatever distractions present themselves. To take a minute amidst the whirling of that which is new to take stock of where you are and who you’re with…mental snapshots, if you will.

As we walked through the entrance of the Alhambra in Granada two days ago, Stephane, in his typically “under the radar” fashion, very quietly said to me, “We’re here, and it’s now.” I was once again reminded of who I’m fortunate enough to be spending the rest of my life with. Of the Buddha-like quality that we all possess, but which shines a little bit brighter in some than others. Those five words helped me completely disconnect from my everyday life so I could plant myself even deeper in the exquisite beauty that is Spain.

So with all that in mind, I’ll stop typing, and lift my gaze back up to the rooftops around me, bordered by the mountains of parched land and olive trees. After all, we’re here, and it’s now.

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